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From contributor Ron Williams…

I have read in recent days that Rick Sanchez as been fired from his CNN anchor job for making what was claimed to be “anti-Semitic” comment regarding Jewish control of the television networks.  Recently Mr. Sanchez has started making the rounds of other television shows apologizing for his comments claiming that they were both “anti-Semitic” and wrong.

I watched with some amusement the ABC View program with the commentators bending over backwards to deny that his comments were true and to assert that even if they were not true that they were somehow anti-Semitic.  If Jews predominate the entertainment industry, so what?    I am somewhat at a loss to understand why Jews predominating the entertainment industry is anymore anti- semantic than saying that blacks predominate in basketball is racist today.  It seems that these commentators on the View and others protest too much.  And they do so without offering any proof that the statements are in fact anti-Semitic. They offer no explanation or support for the assertion that these comments, whether true or untrue are in of themselves “anti-Semitic.”

Furthermore, I do not believe that the comments were in fact an accurate, and therefore should not be considered “anti-Semitic”.  I worked several years in the entertainment industry as an entertainment attorney.  I noted empirically that a large number of Jewish persons were in control of the creative and decision-making positions in the entertainment industry, including music, motion pictures, publishing and television.  If in fact that is the case, then stating a truism cannot be “anti–” anything.

The concentration of Jewish people in the entertainment industry as historical underpinnings.  At the turn of the previous century, Jewish performers were highly concentrated in the Vaudeville circuit.  In addition, I believe you will find that a significant number of the vaudeville houses were also owned by Jewish proprietors.  Additionally, you will find that the majority of the songwriters and performers were Jewish.  Jewish entertainers from George P Cohan, Al Jolson to Fanny Brice dominated the vaudevillian circuits.  I understand that not every performer who was popular was Jewish, but there is no denial that Jews dominated the vaudeville circuit.  A similar situation existed in both music publishing and performance.

In the early days of the film industry, Jewish entrepreneurs also dominated the production and performance in motion pictures , and the financing for these motion pictures came from Jewish controlled banks in New York.  This pattern has continued through to today.  I challenge anyone to look at the rosters of the key executives who control of the creative aspects of all of the major networks, the motion picture industry, the music industry and publishing and show that the predominant group controlling these industries are not Jewish.

Having said this, I find no problem with these industries being predominated by Jews.  In the early days, entertainers were not held in high esteem.  This is an area that Jews could succeed.  That is often the case for groups that have suffered discrimination by the majority population.  One need only look at national athletics both historically and today to see this pattern repeats itself.  You can follow the progression of discrimination against various ethnic groups with their progression through the professional boxing ranks.

Today, no one can dispute the fact that national football and basketball are dominated by African Americans.  Also note the significant number of Spanish-surname ballplayers we are seeing now in professional baseball, players coming from countries such as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico where sports is seen as a way out of poverty.  WHEN ANY GROUP IS DENIED the full range of professions in this society, it is only natural that they take the path of least resistance to achieve success.  African Americans for several generations now have seen athletics as one of the few viable path to economic success.  That is probably why you see more African Americans in football and basketball.  It is not because African Americans are carefully better football players or basketball. In turn of the previous century, entertainment was an available track for success.

This overreaction is even more dramatic when I see commentators like Glen Beck make all kinds of wild assertions about the President and other African Americans with impunity.  I also note that Glen Beck make their assertions on their programs while Rick Sanchez made his comments on another program w2hile being interviewed.  It seems as if his First Amendment rights have taken a back seat on this issue.  Again methinks they protest this too much.

So before we see Rick Sanchez do an endless round of apologies for his statement, people demanding his apologies should show that his statements are in fact incorrect.  But more importantly, whether they are correct or incorrect, his statement should not be a reason for his termination.  If the statements are not true then slapped him on the wrist for making an untrue statement.  But I believe that upon examination will be shown that his statements are in large part true. And whether true or not, I believe there is nothing wrong with a situation where Jews would be in control of the entertainment industry.  Just like there’s nothing wrong with African Americans being the predominant football and basketball players or that Hispanics are now coming dominate boxing. If Jews control the entertainment industry, so what.

[Ron Williams is a retired attorney living in The Woodlands, TX, and a welcome guest contributor to Social Mode]

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This video is a great example of how the talking heads stir up the problems they are trying to accuse everyone else of creating.

The question is… can the media do anything that keeps an audience that isn’t “a broad brush” or over generalization of complex issues?

I say no.  and as disappointing as that is… what can really be done about it?

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It has been suggested by urban myth and scientific pundits that we do not come close to tapping the resources of —or actualizing—our potential.  Dah!

What is a resource and what is actualized or not are subjective matters as is the meaning and the implications of ‘potential.’  Tiger Woods is a good example of how this can be all framed; that is, ‘resources,’ ‘actualized skills’ and the meaning of ‘potential.’  Based on the rules sets used for evaluation, he did well in the golf game part but less well on the husband, communicator, father, business analyst, family member or friend parts.  However, if you are using the idea that is some throwback to an underdeveloped person with unmet interests, he did alright.  It all depends on the frame of reference.

Still others would suggest that intelligence, in some operational way, is made up of the skills we develop. Tiger wasn’t very intelligent in some areas as he was in others; all relative to the rules used to assess his behavior.  Clearly, to keep a stable of secrets that substantive for that long so as not to be discovered or distracted from his game was an act of deliberation and intelligence.

Superior talent then, rather than being a rare genetic mutation, is a result of highly concentrated effort.  Malcolm Gladwell gave the world the relative number of hours it takes to ‘get it done’ in some area of concentration. It is the 10,000 hour rule of success in his Outliers book. While the books interpretive value escapes me, 10,000 hours is a nice number to provide where focused expertise in some small area will yield results, perhaps as it has for Mr. Gladwell in writing a tidy book on confirmation bias.

Thus, the thrust of Gladwell’s book and pointedly of this oplog, is that it is not innate genius or talent that creates great achievers, great works or great breakthroughs but seized opportunities on some aspect of life that, with an extraordinary period of time — a minimum of 10,000 hours — will deliver on the promise.

Einstein didn’t read the latest business gurus or attend the power seminars of T. Peters but he happened upon that theory before it was a theory:

“It is not that I’m so smart, but that I stick with problems longer.”

How really different is that from the modern day saw of “The more I practice, the luckier I get!”?  We all have heard it but still look for the magic, the pill, the magic pill, this or some new-age short-cut.  Talk about self-hypnotic entitlement…!

Randy Jackson on American Idol might attempt to grab your attention by extolling you to “Check this out dog!”  In a less hip fashion I am asking you to test the following:  GET SOME LEVERAGE and see how it affects your achievements!

You and your ideas aren’t going to change in any but trivial ways without getting some leverage and that means some risk of failure.   If failure is important to avoid, read no further.

But if you can tolerate some course corrections, stone walls and echoes, “get some leverage” at doing something you must do because you value something, make the NOT doing something so painful and distasteful to you that you can commit to the hours, the rejection, the near misses and the real possibility of lasting failure. You’ll know you’ve got leverage when you know exactly what to do in the AM to keep you up in the PM.

The repeated attempts to reach beyond our present level will produce clearer views to your achievement.  For some, that may mean graduating from high school while living in squalor.  For others it may mean finding a new use for nanotube technology no one wants.  It’s all subjective evaluation but you can make it real.

Is there anything in your life today you would withstand losses again and again if certainty of tomorrow’s success was in the balance?  

If there is, are those really ‘failures’ or losses or just the feedback from your world? 

If not, when you do find that ‘something,’ go about framing it in a way that keeps you in the game and not in the gallery.

May 14. 2010

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“It has, however, presented some issues for our affiliates. Both Jay and the show are committed to working closely with them to find ways to improve the performance.”

from NBC statement.

I kinda figured that was going to be the issue.

How hard was it really to see that moving Leno before affiliate news and late night programming was going to hurt the network?  Sad to say but people have been falling asleep to Leno for decades.  A move back to 11:30pm might not work now that people are getting an extra hour of sleep… 😉

Seriously, pretty shortsighted or naive or….

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The Jay Leno Show has been widely discussed.  Is it a fundamental shift in TV? does it change the economics?  Will it flop? Will others follow?

Pre-launch reactions weren’t really positive nor negative.  However, tonight’s airing didn’t really seem to knock people’s socks off.

The ratings will have to be the final verdict. BUT…. (it wouldn’t be a fun blog post if I didn’t speculate without sufficient data, right 🙂 )

My initial take: this will be a mediocre success in the short term and eventually make for a hard decision at NBC.  The huge amount of internal media thrown at it by NBC ensures that people know about the show.

The show’s content long term challenge will come from the Internet.  A topical comedy show that aims to be on top of the day’s events is really the specialty of Internet media.  The fact is TV content needs to be of a certain quality to succeed long term and trying to churn out decent comedy in this new form is going to be very difficult.

The business of the show will struggle long term as well.  They have to make big bucks on TV ads and I don’t think they can make the same cashflow with this show AND 2 late night shows. Here is also another issue… how will the other shows and the local affiliates react.  Let’s say this does work a little bit.  There’s a high likelihood that the Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon will suffer from lack of a strong lead in and ad dollar competition.  The local affiliates might hate it to as for decades viewing behavior has been news then comedy.  If others are like me then as soon as these monologues finish you start to fall asleep…. uh oh!

Oh, yes, let’s discuss Kayne and his impact on Leno’s ratings. This is not going to be a long term boost to ratings.  When Hugh Grant happened, we didn’t have youtube and twitter.  Kayne’s moment has already peaked.  What I mean is that the consumer attention for this Kayne moment on Leno has already been exhausted by the Internet.

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So, Fox always pushes it (or so they think)… and now they have More To Love.

It’s the Bachelor, only average waist size.

Blah.

Not so strangely, the show is just as sexist as other reality competition shows.  The stereotypes are fast at work within the first 10 minutes of this show.

A) The main guy is BORING.   he’s out of shape, a real estate dude and BORING.

B) The main guy is boring and UNATTRACTIVE.

C) The main guy is boring and unattractive and yet in a POSITION OF POWER (keys to fame and fortune for the contestants).

So, the dynamic of competition (American social+reality TV competition) is in place.

Will this be successful?

No.  There are some obvious advertising relationships….. but….. the cliche set up + less marketable people makes sure this is nothing more than a novelty.

Oh, and by the way boring and unattractive people, regardless of size, are BORING and UNATTRACTIVE.

What’s more fun to consider is how this was sold into management.  Who pitched this?  How did they pitch this?

This is very different than Biggest Loser.  Biggest Loser has obvious advertisers that are aspirational and it is not condescending.

Face it, as much as reality TV is supposedly about real people, it’s not about real people.  Real people have warts, sweat on camera, hate, snort, fart, snore…. basically they make bad television.  We all want HEROES and LOVERS and MYTH and ASPIRATION… coming through our TV sets…. or do we?

So anything that claims to be Real People when it clearly isn’t and it doesn’t present a better myth is going to fail sooner…….. rather than later.

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Oy, the pop psychologists and media sociologists are out in full force on the latest pop culture sensation, Susan Boyle.

Read all the theories in those links.

  • don’t judge a book by its cover
  • ordinary people do extraordinary things
  • it’s a disney movie
  • we all have hidden desires for the same thing as Boyle
  • etc.

Blah! Blargh!

Try an experiment.  Only listen to her singing.  Do not listen to the audience or the commentary.  You will not have the same reaction – the crying, the emotion, the anger at the judges…  This is an actual experiment we could do.  Take 2 groups who have not seen the video or know about the story and have them watch different contextual versions of the performance.

We are conditioned by the entire context.  If the audience and judges aren’t laughing at her and giving standing Os, the performance is ordinary and our reaction will likely not be the one that drives a YouTube sensation.  When others around us are laughing, crying, making fun… we get into that action.  When the context then shows surprise and amazement we do too.   This is less about Susan Boyle’s surprise talent than it is about the surprise of the audience.

No doubt she can sing, but millions of people can sing.  No doubt she’s not going to win a beauty contest, millions of people won’t and can still sing.  The situation is not uncommon, nor is our reaction.

Combine the context with our own  behavioral histories… we have been conditioned to have reactions like we do to this (but when others are having the same reaction!).  Cheer for the underdog, laugh at the ugly person and slap her back when she crushes it, gossip about a celebrity’s troubles but cheer her return,  damaged goods done good, hooray!, ugly duckings/swan thang.  This is the most common human story ever told and we tell it to our children from the day they are born.  The thing is, the reaction of that audience is still the key to having our histories ignited.  If the audience sorta half likes it and the judges have poker faces and say “cliche song”, Susan Boyle is still the ugly duckly.   Most everyone needs to see the swan, for it to be a swan to us.

The success of Boyle is not a mystery.  It’s not a phenomenon.  It’s your run of the mill context meets shared histories often makes a wave….

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